We’re often asked, “How do get the most out of attending an accounting conference?” by our clients. We tell them to start by making a plan and set goals. These clients report back after the event and tell us the results have been outstanding.
Conferences are exciting and great opportunities to connect. Many are held at beautiful locations, they feature celebrities and other inspirational Keynote Speakers, as well as the opportunity to meet top professional in real life. Events are an excellent opportunity to connect with the pros, build relationships, take classes to enhance your profession and are the perfect opportunity to gain new clients through networking. You are making an investment in yourself and your business by attending. You should have a clear goal and intention of what you want to accomplish during your time away from the office to take full advantage of what the conference has to offer. It is easy to get lost in the excitement and spend your time freely at the event “on vacation.” If a vacation is your goal, then by all means, live it up. But if you want to get a return on investment from attending, you must have a plan of action for your event. Here are some helpful tips to get the most out of attending conferences and other events this year.
MAKE AN EVENT PLAN AND SET GOALS
When you spend the time and money, lose earning potential because you’re away, you need to be certain you have clear cut goals for the event you are about to attend. Make a plan, set goals, and try to achieve them. Don’t overdo it. Events can be tough on us physically and mentally. Also, prepare your SWAG, your business cards, your outfits (see Your Body is a Billboard) and remember to get more business cards than you give. Do not waste your event on poor planning and lack of goals!
JUMP ON EARLY REGISTRATIONS AND SAVE MONEY
Take advantage of early bird pricing. Don’t wait until the month before and pay premium for registration and travel costs. Hotels sell out too and if you wait you could end up paying double. The most productive way to plan for conferences is to map out the events you plan to attend at the beginning of each year. Sign up and secure the time on your calendar giving you the ability to go to the event stress free as your office and clients will have ample notice of your event schedule for the year.
This year, our CEO Eric Greenspan will be presenting at ACCOUNTEX (formerly SleeterCon) and for our friends and clients, we have established a $100 discount before May 31, 2016. To get it, visit https://accountexusa.com/register and choose “Astutemy option” for registration. Then use “schoolofbookkeeping.com” as the coupon code.
Most events have plenty of networking opportunities such as cocktail parties, power breakfasts, lunches, private events, and even waiting in line at Starbucks. Not to mention you can get connect with vendors during expo hours and meet other talented professionals in classes or breakout sessions. Take advantage of this as the relationships you build will lead to opportunities down the road. Connect with others you can learn from and those who work in a similar niche.
Connections not only happen in person but you can really leverage your brand by connecting online. Download the conference app when available to connect with other attendees. Join or start a Slack team to share information and make connections. You can plan your schedule and stay in touch with whats going on around the conference.
DO THE WORK
Make the effort to open up and get to know people at these events. If you are not normally the social butterfly at events, you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone and make a good impression. Practice your elevator pitch, if you don’t believe in yourself how will you convince others to? You should also make sure you look professional. T-shirts are not going to land you a top client. Be sure to have quality business cards and up to date marketing collateral in case you connect with someone who wants to learn more about your business. That goes for how you look online too, be sure your website and all social media sites are up to date and represent your brand with quality.
So you made some great connections, had a great time and have potential leads for business? If you don’t follow up after and keep communication going with that great potential new client or connection, they will forget about you. You want to stay connected so that when they need your services, you are the first person they think of.
Strategy and preparation are keys to your success at your next event Your goal is not only learning to grow your practice but connecting to build relationships. You may meet someone one day at an event and come up with a genius business venture. Keep your mind open to new opportunities and work to achieve your conference goals.
If you are planning to attend an event this year, book a free consultation so we can discuss your plan and goals. Do that here.